Under mayor Kevin Johnson — yes, former Suns player Kevin Johnson — there has been a renewed effort in Sacramento to find a way to build a new arena that would keep the Kings in town.
But the latest and best in a while plan — a complex swap of the ARCO Arena land with the Cal Expo land in the city — has fallen through, as Tom Ziller explains well over at FanHouse. This was a bold and complex deal that just wasn’t to the taste of a more conservative Expo board.
So we’re back to square one, with ideas but ones in the relatively early stages.
ARCO Arena is 22 years old and was built before the economics of NBA arenas (really all sports buildings) shifted. Luxury suites and the high-end seats (which can come with wait staff, access to private clubs and more) are what drives the revenue in today’s market. Those “real fans” up in the cheap seats matter as a fan base, but it’s the luxury boxes that make most of the money. Owners need that revenue to really be profitable, to really compete.
The Maloof brothers have stepped back from direct involvement and have let an NBA consultant handle the new arena for them.
But they have options. Kansas City has a new arena and a thirst for a team. Anaheim’s Honda Center (called the Ponda by fans as it used to be the Pond) opened five years after ARCO but with rows of luxury boxes, along with plenty of corporate headquarters in surrounding Orange County.
The Maloofs have options. They have said they don’t want to move out of Sacramento, but they also want to pay for a new arena all on their own. And they have leverage.
If they make their announcement by March 31, 2011, they could be playing the season after next in a new city in a new arena. That is real leverage. And real pressure on Johnson and the people in Sacramento trying to keep them.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.